Magnesium

Magnesium

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Overview

Magnesium is an essential mineral for humans. Since your body doesn’t produce it, you must obtain it through food (or supplements). Magnesium is found primarily in the skeleton, but also in skeletal muscle and inside/outside of cells. Nearly 300 essential metabolic reactions rely on magnesium.

Importance

Magnesium has many functions in the body including:

  • Assisting in carbohydrate metabolism
  • Assisting in fat metabolism
  • DNA and protein synthesis
  • Activating transport of ions across cell membranes
  • Phosphorylation of second messengers
  • Cell migration and wound healing.

Food Sources

Magnesium can be found in several foods including:

  • Whole grains
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Soy beans
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Apricots
  • Cashews
  • Lima beans
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Navy beans
  • Black beans.

Deficiencies

Common symptoms and resulting conditions of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Hypokalemia.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or deficiency in certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Note: Magnesium deficiency is very rare due to the abundance of magnesium in foods. High intakes of zinc, fibre, and protein can decrease magnesium absorption, putting individuals at risk for deficiency. In addition, those with gastrointestinal disorders, kidney disorders, and alcoholism are at risk.

Excess/Toxicity

Common symptoms of magnesium excess/toxicity include:

  • Loose stools and/or diarrhea.

However, your individual response could be different. If you suspect a health problem or an excess of certain nutrients, please see your primary health care provider (doctor, naturopath, etc). They can help unravel the complexity of your physiology.

Recipe

For recipes rich in magnesium, check out any of the Encyclopedia of Food entries for food items listed above!

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At a Glance

Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body can only obtain through food. It helps metabolize carbohydrates and fat, and synthesize protein and DNA. It also helps the body heal. Magnesium can be found in whole grains, green leafy vegetables, legumes, salmon, and certain fruits.